A super-duper, high-tech helicopter is the centrepiece of this fast-paced action yarn which plays out in the skies above Los Angeles.
The high-tech “urban pacification” chopper has been brought to LA as a deterrent against terrorist activity during the 1984 Olympics and is equipped with microphones so sensitive it can pick up sounds behind walls, as well as being fitted with extraordinarily sophisticated zoom lenses, and a ‘whisper mode’ that allows it to travel silently.
Roy Scheider is effective as maverick cop-pilot and Vietnam veteran (aren’t they always?) Frank Murphy who hijacks the chopper to thwart an underhanded operation to subvert civil liberties led by Murphy’s old nemesis from the Vietnam War, Colonel Cochrane (Malcolm McDowell).
The plot has suspense but is a little too far off the wall to be plausible. The breathtaking aerial manoeuvres, though, help suspend disbelief in the storyline, and no expense was spared on the gadgetry ($22 million). The film’s final thirty minutes feature jaw-dropping stunt after jaw-dropping stunt, both on the ground and in the air.
The second most memorable aspect of this film (next to the Blue Thunder helicopter) is Candy Clark – as Scheider’s girlfriend, Kate – in a mini skirt, black tights and boots.
An inferior TV series followed.